09 October 2017

Spring Walk 2017

This year's spring walk on Meadowridge Common was held on Sunday 20 October in the early afternoon. Taking time off from his studies for his Ph.D.,Stuart Hall (centre) very kindly led the walk. Cape Town is in the grip of one of its worst droughts, but there were still many interesting flowers to see. The weather was overcast and even a bit drizzly,
but the sun came out from time to time to reveal flowers like this little sun-loving sporrie (Heliophila africana) - a member of the cabbage family or Brassicaceae -
and the abundant and floriferous Kusmalva (Pelargonium capitatum).
Yellow daisies (Ursinia anthemoides ) were flowering all over the Common,
and some interesting insect visitors put in an appearance as well. This is a Nomad (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Stuart, pointing out one of the Common's specials - the Redlisted Lampranthus stenus - which doesn't flower at this time of the year, but it is still growing here despite all the trampling that occurs from humans and dogs.
A monkey beetle in the centre of the wild iris (Moraea fugax), several of which were in flower this afternoon. These flowers only last for one afternoon - and we all hoped the monkey beetle was pollinating the flower and not just eating it.  
Stuart demonstrating the tough and stringy the bark of Passerina corymbosa - a member of the Thymelaceae or Tie-me-laces family.
Cuttings from the original plant of Ruschia geminiflora yielded many more plants of this little succulent shrub that grows all over the Common and is flowering now.
The Common has two species of Struthiola - this one is S. ciliata and the other, a bigger shrub nearer the library building, is S. dodecandra. They are also members of the Thymelaceae family.
Albuca juncifolia or 'Sentry in a box".
Artist, Lyn Northam, photographing on of the Commons orchids - the sweet-smelling Satyrium odorum.
The other orchid that occurs here is Disa bracteata.
Rooikanol (Wachendorfia paniculata), a member of the bloodroot family, Haemodoraceae.
Another Common pelargonium - Pelargonium myrrhifolium.
The tiny, lacy flowers of Adenogramma glomerata carpet the sand between the daisies and grass.
Another of the Common's "specials" is the rare and endangered Cape Flats Silkypuff (Diastella proteoides). For more about this plant, click here.
And on most afternoons, the small flowers of Trachyandra revoluta open.
In the various wild storms that we have had this winter, seven of the Common's enormous pines blew down - and the evidence is still around. The City of Cape Town seems to be unable to muster the wherewithal to remove them.
Not flowering, but the presence of several seedlings of another of the Common's "specials", Erica subdivaricata, was an exciting find.
Treading carefully on the Common - as you never know what is underfoot.
Stuart with Fiona Watson who has painstakingly photographed and identified the plants that occur on Meadowridge Common - which amount to almost 140 species, not counting the aliens.

And its not only the flowers that are interesting. This is a nest of Community Nest Spiders that occur on the Common. Read more about them, and other spiders, here.
In the rehabilitation area of the Common several plants of Serruria glomerata are thriving. These are all grown from cuttings taken from other plants of this Cape Flats Sand Fynbos protea growing elsewhere on the Cape Peninsula. According to William Purcell's list of plants on the farm Bergvliet, they would have once grown here.
And finally, at the carpark, a bush of the Tortoise Bush (Muraltia spinosa also known as Nylandtia spinosa) with its spectacular fruit. These are edible and rich in Vitamin C - but taste very astringent.